The First World War - by Martin Gilbert (616 p). 1st class historical and comprehensive well-balanced account!

The Great War (2 vols on 1st w.w. by Winston Churchill. Excellent!

The Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man - Infantry Officer etc. Sigfried Sasoon. The great classic sensation-making autobiographical triology.

Goodbye to All That Robert Graves' very good autobiographical account.

Vimy Pierre Berton The Canadian force at the Battle of Vimy Ridge Bestseller. (1987, Penguin)


Under Fire Henri Barbusse. (A Frenchman's view of the trench hell)

All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque (Trench horrors seen from the German side) Mayflower 1963.

The Flax of Dream quartet by Henry Williamson (1st W.W.)

The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw, an excellent novel on the fortunes and fate of young Germans in Hitler's forces.

Now, God be Thanked, Heart of War, By the Green of the Spring John Masters' realistic and impressively comprehensive fictional triology on the 1st world war and its social environments.(1979. Sphere Books)

Riddle of the Sands of course!


General and overviews

The History of the Second World War Vols. 1-6 Winston S. Churchill,

The World in Flames Collier, Richard 1940 (Penguin. 1980)

Why the Allies Won - Overy, Richard (A summing up of the major lines. Excellent, the most definitive).

The Scourge of the Swastika Russell, Edward F.

The Fatal Decisions- by 5 German generals (translated): Werner Kreipe, Gunther Blumentritt, Fritz Bayerlein, Kurt Zeitler, Bodo Zimmerman London 1956 ("essential to the understanding of the course and outcome of the war by key generals around Hitler. Most revealing).

The Longest Day Ryan, Cornelius (Simon & Schuster, 1977) (on the most decisive and greatest invasion ever on D-Day)

The Last Battle Ryan, Cornelius (1966).(the Rhine crossing, relief of Berlin, the bunker etc.)

Once there was a War Steinbeck, John (1958) (his actual communiques as war reporter).

Between Tears and Laughter by Lin Yutang (A 1943 Chinese outlook, written in U.S., on the 2nd W.W. and Western mentality. Very perceptive

Exchange Ship Max Hill -how Americans caught by the outbreak of war in Japan were finally let out by ship.

A Full Life Brian Horrocks (1960) Brilliant general under Montgomery.

Letters Home: a war memoir. (1993) John C. Ausland. Europe 2nd W.W.

The Burma Campaign (publ. 1949?) - about Gen.Slim's army

The Berlin Diaries of Marie ‘Missie’ Vassiltchikov – 1940-1945.(The Third Reich from the inside by an aristocratic girl who became involved in the July 16th plot on the life of Hitler. A harrowing tale of living under carpet-bombing, the horrors of Nazi rule and the huge and most brutal of purges by the Gestapo and SS of the plotters and their relatives and Missie’s struggle for survival as the Reich was overrun by the Russians and the other Allies. A major record of courage and “a historical document of the first importance” according to A.J.P. Taylor).

Air War

Their Finest Hour Vol. 2 of Churchill's History of 2nd W.W.

Blitzkrieg Deighton, Len (1979).

Fighter - The True Story of the Battle of Britain. by Len Deighton (1977 & Panther 1979). with an intro. by A.J.P. Taylor.(Very illumining!)

The Big Show Pierre Closterman Perhaps the most exciting of all 2nd WW fighter war accounts.(1951. Chatto & Windus)

Flames in the Sky Further accounts. Pierre Closterman

Reach for the Sky Paul Brickhill's stirring biography of the fighter ace Douglas Bader (1954. Collins)

The Last Enemy - Richard Hilary (one of the very best, deepest R.A.F. fighter pilot's biographical accounts: 1947 but republished in 1997)

Eagle Day - Richard Collier (Hodder & Stoughton. 1966) The whole story of the desperate six weeks air battles either side of 13th August 1940. Over 400 eye-witness accounts from Allied and German sources.(1966 Hodder & Stoughton. Pan in 1968.)

Wing Leader James Edgar Johnsen (the British fighter pilot with highest score. Became Wing Commander)

Nine Lives Alan C. Deere's autobiography (Battle of Britain fighter pilot)

The Dam Busters Paul Brickhill- story of Guy Gibson V.C. and his dam-buster squadron using Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb.

Resistance & Secret War

The American Magic Ronald Lewin (Hutchinson 1982)

The Game of the Foxes Farago, Ladislas (N.Y. 1971).(of German espionage in U.K. and the U.S.A. 2nd WW)

The Counterfeit Traitor Klein, Alexander (U.S.A. 1958) (Swedish-American spy's greatest Allied espionage victory of 2nd W.W. Complete inside picture of Axis oil resources etc. by infiltration up to Himmler)

The Double Cross System Masterman, Sir John (On his part in Major Galveston's strategic deception which saved the Allies).

Practice to Deceive Mure, David (Kimber. London 1977)

A Man Called Intrepid Stevenson, William (Harcourt-Brace 1976).(on Sir William Stevenson, Churchill's 'go-between' to Roosevelt, Enigma boss & central figure in overallAllied intelligence).

The Secret Forces of World War II Warner, Philip (Granada London. 1985)

The White Rabbit Bruce Marshall (1952 & Pan 1954). Account of Wing Co. Yeo-Thomas' work as top secret agent organising French resistance. His capture by Gestapo & escape from Buchenwald.

Popski's Private Army Lt. Col. Vladimir Peniakoff. 1950. Deep penetration battalion fighting behind Axis lines from Alamein to N. Italy until capitulation. Very educative about warfare psychology & battle etc.

The Man Who Never Was Montagu, A deception to cloak the allied Landings in Sicily. (Penguin 1956)


The Colditz Story (1952) & The Latter Days at Colditz (1953) by P.R. Reid. MBE. MC.The gripping saga of the most secure castle prison & the best escapers ever. Inspiring & amusing too.

Wingless Victory Anthony Richardson (Oldham's Press. 1950) The story of Sir Basil Embry's escape from occupied France, summer 1940.

Odette - story of the courage of the French resistance herione.

Boldness be my Friend Richard Pape (his own amazing escape saga)

The Wooden Horse - Eric Williams (the Stalag Luft 3 escape classic)

The Great Escape - Paul Brickhill (the biggest POW RAF escape)

Escape to Danger- Paul Brickhill (Collection of amazing escapes)

The Tunnel - Eric Williams

Diverse, incl. biography/memoirs:-

Scum of the Earth Arthur Koestler. All the sordid facts about France before & during the fall in 1940. Brilliant!

Boy in the Blitz Colin Perry. A moving and detailed personal 1940 diary by a school-leaving boy.(1972)

The Greatest Gamble Per Hansson 1967 (The Shetland crossings)

The Shetland Bus by David Howarth (The Shetland crossings)

Shetlands-Larsen Frithjof Sælen On the hero of the Shetland crossings. (Oslo 1982)

Hunting the Bismark by C.S. Forester (Michael Joseph Ltd. 1959). gripping, true account.

The Cockleshell Heroes - C.E.Lucas Phillips. (Pan rpt.1970)

Signal Venture Lionel Herbert Harris. A biography of a Signal's officer throught both wars - unusual angle on war.

Is Paris Burning? Collins, Larry (1985)

Combat - European Theater Congdon, Don (Dell. 1958)

A Genius for War: a Life of General George Patton D'Este, Carlo(1995)

Crusade in Europe Eisenhower, Gen. Dwight D. (1948) (war memoir)

The Battle of the Bulge Merriam, Robert E. (Ballantine 1957)

Memoirs Montgomery of Alamein (1958).From Alamein to Berlin. Excellent & illumining about Allied conflict on the war in Europe)

From Alamein to Zem-Zem Keith Douglas. Evocative blow-by-blow diary account of desert tank warfare in Monty's 8th Army by a tank commander who was killed in battle(1979 Oxford Univ. Press)

"I was an Eighth Army Soldier" by Driver R.J. Crawford, as narrated to Major John Dalgleish. (1944. Victor Gollancz)

If you survive George Wilson. Gripping true account by an US officer at Normandy, Battle of the Bulge etc.(1987, Ivy Books. NY)

When the Snow Comes they will Take You Away (first publ. as Love and war in the Apennines) Eric Newby's wartime experiences as an escapee in Italy.

Ill Met By Moonlight On the invasion of Crete. Moss, W.Stanley. (Sphere 1968)

Jersey under the Jackboot R.C.F. Maugham C.B.E. (1968. Corgi)

Raid On St.Nazaire, David Mason. (Macdonald 1970)

Churchill's Bodyguard Edmund Murray. (Star 1988)

The Observer May 13, 1945.


The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Shirer, William (1964).

Inside the Third Reich Speer, Albert (Macmillan 1970)

The Last Days of Hitler Trevor-Roper, Hugh

The Secret Conversations of Hitler Trevor-Roper, Hugh (recorded by Martin Bormann & edited by Trevor-Roper)

The Spear of Destiny Trevor Ravenstone. (On Hitler's obtaining, as result of Austrian Anschluss, the spear which pierced Jesus, had been owned by Barbarossa etc. & his pseudo-mysticism by one who knew him in Vienna & who advised Churchill on Hitler's personality etc.)

Far East:-

Elephant Bill James H. Williams (the battles of Burma, with the use of elephants).

The Jungle is Neutral F. Spencer Chapman

Empire of the Sun J.G. Ballard. The famous author's 'autobiographical novel' of his boyhood in Shanghai's Changi P.O.W. camp.



Destination Chungking Han Suyin Classic on the Japanese invasion of China. (1942 Jonathan Cape.1959- Penguin)

The Sword of Honour triology comprising: Officers and Gentlemen (1951) Men at Arms (1952) Unconditional Surrender (1955) - Evelyn Waugh's series of 'autobiographical novels' from the invasion of Crete and much more.Very authentic and much understated humour. Chapman & Hall, but all in Penguin

The Winds of War (1971) and War and Remembrance (1978) by Herman Wouk true to history and esp. Jewish angle. Massive work.(Fontana-Collins)

City of Gold Len Deighton (1992) Brilliant novel of desert war counter-intelligence in Egypt)

Winter Len Deighton a deep historical novel on Germany from 1900 to 1945

Bomber by Len Deighton - deeply researched novel of both R.A.F.Bomber Command and its victims in Germany.

Fighter by Len Deighton – a most well-informed account of the Battle of Britain.

Goodbye Mickey Mouse – by Len Deighton. Top researched novel about Mustang fighter base in East Anglia during 2nd WW.

An Expensive Place to Die, Horse Under Water, Only When I Larf, Funeral in Berlin, Twinkle,twinkle little spy, SS-GB, XPD, the triology Game, Set and Match, MaMista, are all exciting cliffhangers of high quality.

The Purple Plain, The Jacaranda Tree & Fair Stood the Wind for France - H.E. Bates' war novels, all realistic.

Enigma Robert Harris (pure fiction but well-informed on Bletchley House etc.)

Quiet Flows the Don Sholokov. Major, long novel of the Russian defence of Stalingrad & the subsequent mightiest Kursk tank war.

The Forgotten Soldier Guy Sajer (560 pages. Sphere Books, 1971) International best seller on war from the viewpoint of an ordinary Wehrmacht soldier on the Eastern Front. Chilling, illumining... the why and how of what the foot soldier just had no knowledge about)

The Pied Piper Nevile Shute. A man fleeing the Nazis after Dunkirk is followed by refugee waifs who he cares for and saves.

Requiem for a Wren Nevile Shute (1955 William Clowes & Son)

Pastoral by Nevile Shute 2nd WW RAF

Most Secret Nevile Shute 2nd WW RN

Destination Dieppe W. Howard Baker Mediocre novel about intelligence in France around the Dieppe raid.(Zenith Publ. London.)

Dark Star Alan Furst. Brilliant novel on espionage in the late 30s.

Beyond the Silence - The Only Good GermanThe Lantern Network – The Other Side of Silence - The Secret Whispers Ted Allbeury. On a German spy sent to UK (Granada Publ. 1981) All Our Tomorrows Ted Allbeury. About the intelligence underground in occupied France.(199? Hodder & Stoughton)

Ted Allbeury All very true-to-life, suspense-ridden and imaginative fictional war stories.

The Polish Officer Alan Furst. About a Polish underground agent in France (Harper-Collins. 1995)

Sowers of the Wind T.A.G. Hungerford. Realistic novel of occupation troops in Japan after Hiroshima (1967. Angus & Robertson. UK)

This list of my 2nd WW reading is still very incomplete